Activities Gratitude Reflections Walking Washington DC

Pandemic Reflection: The Tulips Make Me Want To See

Pandemic reflection on how tulips reflect our lives

My pandemic reflection is late in being published. I try to regularly publish a weekly article. But it hard to be inspired right now.

I didn’t write my weekly blog until Sunday morning because nothing is happening in my life. DC mandates that I stay-in-shelter. I do not trek outside my city so I must live in a medieval walled compound known as Washington, DC. The enemy is the novel coronavirus.

But then I realized that I do not need to travel to other cities and countries to write about my solo treks.

Daily Walk

Each day I turn my early morning exercise into a cerebral as well as a physical activity. I find solace in walking the same 4-mile loop of the U.S. Capitol Grounds. Runners race past me. Walkers meander on a path. The U.S. Capitol police stand guard on steps and in front of buildings.

Oddly, all this gives me solace. Even though my city is a ghost town, I feel we are a community fighting an enemy that we cannot see but know waits to attack us.

I take my daily walk as if it were an antibiotic that could inoculate me from COVID-19.

Connecting with Nature

I dally in front of the exquisite beds of flowers that riotously bloom at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.

I stroke the waxen leaves of the magnolia tree. I let the silken cherry blossoms fall like a gentle spring shower on my head. Hiding under the canopy of the towering fir tree, I pretend to be the little girl who once played in her imaginary castle in the trees. I let my imagination scamper. It is good to be free to walk.

Reading Poetry

I find such comfort right now in reading poetry. It distracts me from the news headlines that get more dire each day. I don’t want to fall into a depression or allow apathy to overwhelm me.

This enemy will be defeated. We will once again resume our normal lives, but hopefully with a new appreciation of the simple gift which is living fully. This is my pandemic reflection.

Drink the Moment

I’d like to share this poem below titled “Tulips” by A. E. Stallings. I underline the poet’s to “drink the moment” as “tomorrow they’ll [the tulips] be missed.”

I think the metaphor of the tulips is true as a pandemic reflection. We mourn our old pre-coronavirus lives.

Truly, I know I took for granted all the freedom I had to travel to Europe, Mexico and Canada in 2019. I didn’t fully appreciate the freedom to visit my children without breaking the stay-in-shelter orders. I didn’t realize how my world could shrink down to a 1,100-square-foot condo.

Pandemic Reflection

But like the poet Stallings urges, I am giving myself up to the light. I have so much color in my constricted life because I can celebrate the return of the spring tulips. The tulips make me want to see clearly.


By A. E. Stallings

The tulips make me want to paint,

Something about the way they drop

Their petals on the tabletop

And do not wilt so much as faint,

Something about their burnt-out hearts,

Something about their pallid stems

Wearing decay like diadems,

Parading finishes like starts,

Something about the way they twist

As if to catch the last applause,

And drink the moment through long straws,

And how, tomorrow, they’ll be missed.

The way they’re somehow getting clearer,

The tulips make me want to see—

The tulips make the other me

(The backwards one who’s in the mirror,

The one who can’t tell left from right),

Glance now over the wrong shoulder

To watch them get a little older

And give themselves up to the light.

Reader Input

Thank you to all my readers who sent me an email about what they are doing to combat loneliness and stay active. Nature is such a balm.

Get outside for a walk or run today. Feel the sunshine on your face. Exalt that spring is here (or coming soon if you live in New England)!

Comments (or emails) are welcome!

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  • Carla
    April 5, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    Really lovely Terri. Glad you are still getting out on your treks.

    • Terri Markle
      April 5, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      Thank you Carla! You are lucky that Calvin takes you outside each day for your walks together. WOOF!